The Departments of Agriculture (DA), Transportation (DOTr), and Energy (DOE) joined forces to provide farming and fishing communities in the Philippines access to refrigerated container vans or reefer vans. This is expected to benefit both producers and consumers.
On 12 March 2021, DA Secretary William Dar, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, and DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi, signed a tripartite agreement to strengthen and expand the existing “Palamigan ng Bayan” program for the agri-fishery sector in strategic areas nationwide.
The “Palamigan ng Bayan” program was previously led by the DOTr in 2018, where a dozen reefer vans were deployed in selected sites to serve as cold storage facilities and preserve the quality of perishable goods, reduce wastage and support reasonable prices for farmers and fishermen. This time, the DOTr will partner with the DA and DOE not only to strengthen the “Palamigan ng Bayan” program but also to expand and sustain it to cover more areas and benefit more farmers and fishermen nationwide.
Under their memorandum of agreement (MOA), the three agencies will promote the use of refrigerated container vans as cold storage facilities to help address concerns on food quality and safety as they store fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat products, and other perishable goods.
To do this, they will formulate and implement policies and activities necessary to ensure the success of the program, establish standard operating procedures to have a coherent coordination mechanism, and ensure the stability of price. They will also work together to ensure a steady and affordable supply of agri-fishery products in support of the food resiliency program of the DA, and develop new and emerging technologies for the agri-fishery sector in collaboration with research and development institutions (RDIs) and other stakeholders. In addition, they will provide technical and other support services to local farmers and fisherfolks and encourage continuing technology innovation through public-private partnerships, joint venture arrangements, technology business incubation, contract research, management contract and other relevant and related legal instruments.
(Source: Departments of Agriculture, Department of Transportation)